On separate occasions, two of my friends, Steph and Edith, each shared with me two different angles of the same sermon they heard about Forgiveness. When I logged on to Facebook, I saw the same pastor’s posts on his sermon on Forgiveness. Pastor Joby Soriano wrote:
“FORGIVENESS” Personal hurt and bitterness if not dealt with properly will destroy us. Forgiving the other person doesn’t mean that we say, “It’s OK that you hurt me” or “What you did is not a bad thing.” Forgiveness means giving our hurt to God and letting Him settle the score without trying to get even. Forgiveness is not an option! The key is to understand how much God has personally forgiven us. Healing begins when we choose to forgive not waiting for time to pass. Forgiveness is not something we feel, it is something we do. You see, in the final analysis Forgiveness is an act of faith for all of us. Will we let God settle the score or will we hold on to our hurts?”
This post pierced my heart. The next morning, as soon as I woke up, five words kept repeating in my mind: let God settle the score. The next post from Pastor Joby came:
“LET GOD SETTLE THE SCORE” This is the first of three steps to healing our hurts. We don’t need to seek revenge or retaliate against those who hurt us. God says, “I am in control. I will protect and watch over you. Let me handle those who’ve hurt you.” Romans 12:17,19, “Never pay back evil for evil. … 19 He will repay those who deserve it.” Jesus is our beloved example …1 Peter 2:23… “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” God knows who has hurt us, He sees them all and He cares. He can and will settle the score. The longer we keep hating our enemies, the longer we are not trusting God.”
I understood in my head the need to forgive. I have already been forgiven myself. I continue to need forgiveness and benefit from God’s untiring mercy and grace. I will only be forgiven the same way that I forgive others of their offenses against me. I can not be like the unmerciful servant who loves to be forgiven but withholds forgiveness from others. Yet I was not joyfully releasing everything to my Heavenly Father. The inner child in me (which is what I predominantly feel like lately) wanted to be cared for and assured that the God of Justice is in place on His throne in utter holiness, compassionate, watching over me and protecting me as He promised. When I felt like He was in Shrek’s Land of Far, Far Away taking care of something else while His “precious daughter, the apple of His eye” took yet one more blow, I asked, “what would it take for You to be glorified? how long will I need to put on Christ?” I realized that maybe I thought I was clothed in Christ but it was actually a Christ put-on because I did not have the joy and peace of surrender. I could not keep it up. “Let God settle the score” sounded like the most beautiful sonata, yet my inner anger was leading me to play my own heavy metal.
The next post came: “HARMONY” If we enjoy a song or musical number more than likely it’s because there is great harmony. All the instruments are playing the right notes, the singer is in tune and the melody is perfect. Behind all this is a conductor who orchestrates a tremendous amount of what would be chaos if not for his baton of guidance. Today unfortunately, there is discord, strife, disunity and fights among family members, friends and others. Our pride gets in the way of harmony! We think only about what we desire for ourselves. Stop and ask ourselves, “Am I walking by the Spirit of God? Am I living according to His Word?” God unifies us together for our good. Let’s live in harmony with others by following the baton of God’s love.
I discovered I was playing my own song, being my own conductor. I was disconnected from the harmony and symphony that the Master Conductor was playing. I was still looking at myself as “the offended one”, not looking at the Lord’s view of the lost around me who know not what they do, who are on the path to destruction. I need to genuinely put on Christ and be controlled by the Spirit.
Lord, I confess my unforgiveness, bitterness, rage, and unworthy words. Cleanse me of my sins. Today, please empty my heart of my wrong thoughts and attitudes. Take all these burdens from me, Lord. They are Yours. I no longer want to carry them around. Please fill me with Your Spirit, giving me Your heart and the mind of Christ. Help me to fix my eyes on You. You are my Rock and Fortress, Healer, Deliverer, Everpresent Help, Lover of My Soul. You are my Everything. Give me a clean pure heart, increase my faith. Help me to see what You are doing. Help me to abide in You. Help me to die to my self and my will that prevent me from loving Your will. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Help me to be a channel of this same forgiveness I receive. Help me to trust You completely and to obey You completely. I praise You already for how You will take care of me and lead me to the right path, for how You will work in me, changing me to be more like You, for how You will use all of these ugly, painful things for good, for how You will redeem and deliver me and how You will be faithful as You always have been yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Thank You for what You will do in Jesus’s name and for His glory, amen.